Team India came roaring back into the match in the second half of the first session on Day 2 of the 2nd Test against South Africa in Johannesburg, courtesy a three-wicket burst from Shardul Thakur. The medium pacer was lethal as he first removed South African captain Dean Elgar to break the partnership. He then produced two great deliveries to dismiss danger man Keegan Petersen and Rassie van der Dussen. South Africa, who were once cruising at 88/1, went into lunch at 102 for 4.
Shardul, playing in the team as a fourth pacer and as a lower order batter who can smack important runs down the order, once again showed his knack of picking up important wickets. Former India opener and renowned commentator Aakash Chopra described Shardul’s role in the team during the lunch time show on host broadcaster Star Sports.
“Yesterday also, the first hour didn’t go South Africa’s way and the bowlers, courtesy (Duanne) Olivier, bounced back. The same happened with India. Maybe it’s just the effect of the roller. With (Mohammed) Siraj only 50-60 per cent, KL Rahul’s hands were tied. He had no other option but to go for Shardul Thakur and look for wickets. Before this (spell), he had only bowled one over and then you start to question whether he is playing as a batting or a bowling all-rounder. He is certainly playing as a bowler all-rounder,” Chopra said.
Describing the wicket of Dean Elgar that Shardul picked, Chopra said that the bowler had to move the ball just a little bit to get the edge as Elgar was batting well. Shardul did just that to send the Proteas captain back in the hut.
“If you look at the last over from Siraj yesterday, that over was unplayable. But the longer you stay at the crease, you don’t knick those ones. So, the ball had to move enough to find the outside edge. Dean Elgar has been playing down the straight line and was getting beaten by 6 inches, which is no fluke. Anything that moves exaggeratedly misses the edge, but this one didn’t,” Chopra said.
Former South Africa paceman Morne Morkel lamented the fact that South Africa lost wickets in a heap despite playing well to absorb the pressure from Bumrah and Shami.
“South Africa absorbed the pressure and the key was to fight through the first hour, get through Shami and Bumrah, and there on you can get the scoring options. You could see Siraj was only bowling at 50 per cent. The table was set for South Africa but the game changes so quickly. You can’t lose concentration for a second as Shardul Thakur came and broke open the South African top-order,” Morkel.
Topics mentioned in this article